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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.


I don’t know about anyone else, but I have recently been inundated with deadlines, essays and exams. It has been absolutely horrendous. As well as being a complete wreck with my studies, this has also resulted in a luxuriously sedentary lifestyle, and resorting to binge eating McCoy’s crisps – my new favourite snack. And so, I was looking forward to our yoga session with much anticipation this week. Finally, a chance to relax and take time out!

The thing is with yoga is that I find it quite funny. Over the past couple of years I have attended various yoga sessions and they are always conducted by a humourless teacher who is annoyingly thin and muscular, and tries to convert you to their lifestyle of detox smoothies and meditation. Although the instructor could still do insane acrobatic movements, he actually seemed normal. (Also the fact that I saw him on my walk home afterwards park up outside our local takeaway place in his little red car made him seem a bit more human than the rest of those strange yoga robots).

Having a background in ballet definitely helps though when it comes down to the flexible stuff. Although I am certainly much stiffer nowadays, I still got a smug sense of satisfaction when I could reach my toes!

The positions in the Ashtanga yoga were challenging but I felt that I improved every time we repeated them. I feel that I’ve found my style of yoga – doesn’t work up too much of a sweat, but you can feel the muscular side effects for a few days afterwards!

The great part about the session was that I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated afterwards. I came out a new woman – stress-free, and aching everywhere! Out of all the societies that we have visited, I think this is the first that I am genuinely considering joining. It honestly did wonders. Plus hopefully it’s a step in saying goodbye to my crisp-binging days. Well maybe after this packet…or two…


I’ve always dabbled in and out of yoga myself, so it was nice to return to the activity with a friend. Just like Rebekah, I thoroughly enjoyed the Ashtanga session. The benefit of doing it in a class is that you’ve got a well-trained teacher watching you, who will correct your posture if you’re incorrect. This is definitely helpful for me; as often I practice yoga at home courtesy of my iPad app and therefore don’t have that luxury!

Instead I’m fumbling my way through half king-dancer poses, hopping about like a baby kangaroo finding its legs for the first time. At least the neighbours get a laugh.

But this class left me aching big-time, as I worked out muscles I didn’t even know I had. This type of yoga involved the repetition of several salutations, which was great as I began to notice improvement on each repetition. I believe that if I were to keep up the activity, I’d notice vapid improvement. If you’re looking for a way to tone, this is the way to go.

It’s also a well-known fact that yoga is not only good for your fitness; but for your wellbeing as well. Now you may be wondering, how can some stretching on a mat assist with this? Well, using our session as an example I’ll tell you. After all the hard work is done with in the session, you go through a wind-down period. This involves stretching out limply, and allowing yourself to simply relax. The teacher described the feeling as “floating through space”, which it truly is. You simply lie and forget about all the worries you’ve had, and bask in the post-exercise glow.

For me Ashtanga was a great physical version of yoga, with just the right amount of meditation. Depending on what you’re seeking; there’s varieties of yoga that have emphases on different pathways. Yoga Society offers a broad range, as well as a helpful committee if you’re spoilt for choice! The great thing about this activity is that it can be done literally anyway. Whether it’s in a group class, at the gym, or even from the comfort of your own home. Yoga society state that they do outdoor lessons in the summer.

Which sounds like a dream. Yoga and the fresh air? YES PLEASE.

Despite my enthusiasm for this particular society, I wouldn’t quite yet consider myself a “yogi”. But hopefully if I’m able to keep up the sessions, I’ll start noticing some more results and become more integrated in the yoga culture once and for all.

Image sources:1. http://www.ashtangayogajournal.com/ashtanga-yoga-practice/benefits-of-as…. http://www.wikihow.com/Do-Yoga-Meditation3. http://holisticfitness.org.uk/open-classes